The Brave Bearies women’s softball team is based at NSK’s Ishibe Plant. The Brave Bearies play in the All-Japan First Division League. They revel in the challenge of competing against some of the best women’s softball teams in the world.
Asami Endo（left in photo）
General Affairs and Labor Section, Ishibe Plant
Hanako Shigeishi（right in photo）
Manufacturing Section 1, Ishibe Plant
◆NSK women’s softball team celebrates 50 years playing ball
EndoOur team got its start here 50 years ago as a club at the Ishibe Plant. Since then, the team has achieved some incredible results. The 1984 team took the top spot at the National Sports Festival of Japan held in Nara that year, and the 1985 team won the First Division Championship. It is thanks to the tireless effort of all the team members who came before us and the wonderful support of NSK that we have the opportunity to compete in Japan’s top women’s softball league.
Bearie, the team’s mascot, is a warbler. The warbler is the official bird of the city of Konan in Shiga Prefecture, where the Ishibe Plant is located. We adopted the warbler mascot when the team was promoted to the First Division in 2017.
◆ What are your core values as a corporate team?
EndoThe team members work at the plant in the mornings and practice softball in the afternoons. A corporate team can only be a team if there is a company that supports it. We depend on teamwork. This is why we really emphasize cooperation. Cooperation and consideration for others is important for anyone who wants to be appreciated not only as a softball player, but also in the workplace and as a citizen. Ultimately, teamwork determines the outcome of the game, both in softball and in life. It is just as essential to maintain teamwork in the workplace as it is in softball. The performance of every team depends on it.
◆What are your thoughts on the team’s slogan for this season?
ShigeishiOur slogan for this season is "Build a sense of unity." This was decided by the players in a discussion at the end of last season. Since many of the team members planned to retire at the end of last season, we knew that the team would be changing significantly. So we decided the most important thing was to stay united. In fact, the team has always emphasized a "sense of unity" as a key value. This concept expresses our aspiration that the entire team will stay connected with each other even when players come and go. It also has special meaning after a year when we couldn’t play in front of our fans. We want to stay connected with the company and the fans that support us, and take on every challenge together.
◆What are your goals before this season begins?
ShigeishiIn the first half of last season, all the games were canceled due to the pandemic, leaving only half the games originally planned. We managed 2 wins out of those 11 games. Our goal for this season is 10 wins, and we are constantly thinking about what it will take to make that happen.
EndoAbout half of our players are new this season, but our returning players are steadily improving and showing a sense of responsibility to lead the team. We have also welcomed in a few key players from other teams, so our outfield is especially competitive now. We are all working hard so that we can get off to a fast start when the season begins.
◆What do you like the most about softball?
ShigeishiI really enjoy the speed of softball games. Although the pitcher throws the ball underhand in softball, the distance between the pitcher and the batter is shorter compared to baseball, so the ball seems to come at you much faster. Also, the field is smaller, which makes the game more thrilling. This gives the players opportunities to employ special techniques and use their legs, and some players can really hit home runs.
EndoThe tactics used by pitchers and batters are also more interesting than in baseball. Compared to other sports, a player's physical size and build is less important. This makes softball a sport that all kinds of people can enjoy.
◆ Do you have any special message for our readers?
EndoFirst, I want everyone to know that NSK has a team that competes in one of the world’s best softball leagues. We invite you to follow us. If you have the chance, please come and check out one of our games, so you can witness the thrill of great softball with your very own eyes.
ShigeishiI think the Brave Bearies is a team that really enjoys the support of fans and our company. We will compete as hard as we can this season. We really want to live up to the hopes of everyone who cheers us on. I’m sure that anyone who comes to see a game will not regret it. We look forward to seeing you at a game! Go NSK!
Team video (Japanese):
Team website (Japanese):